Muslim Empires

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The Muslim Empires

Since the beginning, all empires have faced change in many ways, declining and rising in status. Many empires have collapsed, only to start again under a different name. Like all empires, the three Muslim Empires, the Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals have faced this inevitable state. Although each individual empire is different, they each have similarities in their reasons for decline. Whether it is social, religious, economic, or political reasons, the empires, like many others, have fallen.

The Ottoman Empire, founded by Osman, had started in the northwestern corner of the Anatolian Peninsula. The empire expanded rapidly, only to weaken again. The first visible decline was the loss of territory at the Battle of Carlowitz in 1699. Many of their reasons of success have deteriorated over the years and actually caused the decline as well.

The Ottoman's military was very strong, especially the members of the Janissaries corps. Boys were recruited from the local Christian population to serve as guards but only the best ones became Janissaries. Soon, though, the position became hereditary, so there was no longer a need to be excellent to occupy a position. Also, the training of officials declined, and the elite formed a privileged group seeking wealth and power.

Although the Ottoman system was religiously tolerant, non-Muslims were forced to pay a head tax because of their exemption from military service and were divided by religious faith into a number of "nations" that had its own leader and laws. Also, before the decline, the position of the sultan was hereditary and a son always succeeded his father. The heir to the throne gained experience by being assigned as governors of provinces. Later, the oldest surviving male inherited the throne and others were kept secluded which provided them with no governmental experience in case they succeeded the throne.

The sultans became less involved in the government and allowed their...
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